You may have heard of a proposal to use the Old High Hall for a resource centre for the elderly. It is thought that a place where older people can meet in the city centre will fill an important need for Inverness, as we continue to face a greater number of elderly persons in the community.
The Kirk Session is examining a proposal from Friendship Services, a local charity who also operate the Dunbar Centre across the road from the Old High. Friendship Services are now undertaking a feasibility study, to be carried out by the University of the Highlands and Islands, into whether there is a need for such an elderly care facility. Over the next few months they will be distributing questionnaires and holding meetings for older people in order to find out about their needs and wants. We have agreed to help them be in touch with older people within our own congregation. However we have not yet agreed to use Old High Hall for this purpose.
The Old High Hall is well used by the community, but less so by the congregation. It requires considerable investment to bring it up to modern standards. If the elderly care proposal goes ahead it will likely attract funds which could be used to modernize the hall, we would receive a rent for its use, and it would provide an important service to the community.
However the Session is a long way off from deciding that to agree to the use of the hall for this purpose. We are still digesting the results of Future Focus, and we may well develop other plans for the use of the hall in future. Friendship Services know that the Kirk Session might well decide to do something else with the hall which would mean it could not be used by them.
So, the proposal is at a very early stage, and no decisions have yet been taken. The feasibility study going ahead over the summer does not imply that the Session has made a final decision about using the Old High Hall in this way. We do not know whether there is a need for an elderly centre in the city centre, nor whether the Old High Hall is suitable or could be adapted for such a sure, nor whether we would wish the hall used for this purpose. There are many questions still to be answered!
The Session will keep the congregation informed whenever there are new developments. If you would like to know more, please contact the Minister.